Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2015
A few days ago, Marvel Entertainment confirmed that the Walt Disney Studios (“Disney”) and Sony Pictures Entertainment (“Sony”) reached an agreement to bring Spider-Man into the Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (“MCU”). Sony has held the rights to the Spider-Man character since 1999, and this new agreement means that actor Andrew Garfield’s Amazing Spider-Man storyline will be cast away in order to reboot the series for MCU continuity. Marvel executive Kevin Feige will produce the next installment of the $4 billion Spider-Man franchise. Feige will team up with Amy Pascal, who is set to co-produce after she leaves her position as Sony’s motion picture group chairwoman in May 2015.
The details of the deal have not been released from a reliable source, so it is unclear if Marvel managed to terminate its previous contract with Sony, or if Marvel and Sony negotiated a new contract, superseding the terms they were previously bound to. The latter is more likely. It is also unclear as to whether incorporating Spider-Man into the Avengers storyline means classic villains like the Green Goblin or Venom will appear in the Spider-Man movies, or even The Avengers movies, as well. It is known that Sony will move forward with Sinister Six and Venom, two films that prominently feature Marvel villains.
Unfortunately, 20th Century Fox (“Fox”) still owns the rights to the X-Men franchise, barring the Avengers from fully assembling until Disney can strike a deal. Even if a deal is made soon enough to include X-Men characters in the current MCU, the X-Men storyline created by Fox will likely need to be rebooted in order to seamlessly integrate the characters into Civil War and Infinity War.
For a timeline of the MCU Phase Three plans, check out http://comicbook.com/2014/11/17/marvel-released-official-marvel-cinematic-universe-phase-3-timel/ (although, this could all change with the addition of Spider-Man).